Sunday, June 28, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 25

Checking in for the week of June 21 through June 27.

Back to School Murder (Leslie Meier) - Just now starting to get into the story. I wasn't expecting to have such a book hangover from "Song of Susannah"!

T did up some ribs on the grill and we ate them with baked beans (Bush's Boston Style! the only ones I buy) and some homemade coleslaw. We did up BLTs another night. Had some grilled chicken sandwiches with pasta salad. Some burgers with roasted potato wedges. And some tilapia that T seasons, seals up in a foil packet, and tosses on the grill. He put some zucchini on the grill as well. We give our grill quite the workout all year, but this time of year especially. Anything to keep the house cooler.

New reusable grocery bags! (This might make me happier than is normal.)

Topaz Waters (BBW) - Back after Christmas, when they were having crazy sales and I had coupons and gift cards to use, I stopped in to pick up some of their candles, because they're way out of my willing to spend range when they're full price. T was with me and he picked this one. It's a very clean, slightly cologne-y masculine scent. I actually really like it. Plus the jar is this super pretty teal that lights up with the flame behind it. Definite winner!
Bahama Breeze (YC) - Like a fruity tropical drink. Just right for the relentless heat.
Coconut Bay (YC) - Staying "in theme," this one is sun and sand and sweet coconut.
Island Spa (YC) - Peaceful. Relaxing. Subtle.

Bright colors are the hallmark of Florida summer.

The skies here just kill me. Even when it isn't sunrise or sunset. Just look at that blue and those clouds.

I wore out a couple of my reusable shopping bags and had to replace them. The designs are Publix are my favorite. How cute is that patriotic one?? And I love the retro feel of the other.

I make really good coleslaw.

My favorite pair of chopsticks. I got them in the Japanese department store at Epcot.

I love the way the teal glass glows when this candle is lit.

Remember last week? After! T built a cabinet for me (that matches the vanity he made for our master bathroom) to store the spare toilet paper and the various cleaning supplies we use in the bathroom. You can never have too much storage space!

Caught in the act, you birdseed bandit!

This cloud.

Attempting to feel like less of a sham when I accessorize.

Towering clouds.

Like a watercolor.

I have gazed at a thousand sunsets and never seen one that looks like this before.


Parting my hair on the opposite side...and trying not to feel like a cat with its fur brushed the wrong direction.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Week on My TV: June 27, 2015

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(Murder in the First, S2E1 Twenty-Fifteen) This is such a dark show. This season looks like it will be difficult to watch. There was a lot of violence, a lot of carnage. I'm not sure exactly where they're taking us, with the teen shooter escaping. I know this show covers one case over the course of the season, but I'm wondering where else it can go. I see they appear to be embracing the abrupt ending. I guess we'll see...

**(TURN, S2E8 Providence) Caleb [to Ben]: Well, that was your plan. This one's mine. -- I knew Hewlett had survived, despite that "grave." But ewwww...inside the bull carcass. My, how far he's come from the slightly awkward, genteel man overseeing Setauket. Or maybe "been forced" would be more accurate. -- I loved Andre's reaction to Peggy telling him she is willing to risk estrangement and disownment by her family if she elopes with him. And his adoration and sincerity when he tells her her husband will never abandon her. -- My jaw was on the ground when Benedict laid his hand on Washington. And then myself was, laughing, at the look Washington gave him. -- Simcoe, comforting a sobbing Anna, when Hewlett walks in. Oh, that entire scene was delightful and priceless. -- Andre cutting of his braid and handing it to Peggy as a memento during their separation. All the heart-eyed emojis.

**(TURN, S2E9 The Prodigal) Simcoe really is a twisted S.O.B. Hanging one of Hewlett's men, staging it as a suicide. -- There was a time when Abe truly was a boy playing a man playing a spy, but that time is long past now. So when he looks at the guy that runs the prison, just before he leaves after being released by Hewlett's word, and says "Thank you for your hospitality. I won't forget you." well, if I'm that guy, I believe I would be sleeping with one eye open. -- In his own way, the Judge is as big a jerk as Simcoe. -- Abe was so slow on the uptake! Even I knew the bill Townsend left him had an invisible note hidden on it! -- Incredible camera work, conveying so much without words, in this episode. Billy as he listened to the strategy session in Washington's tent. Abe's reunion with his family. -- Simcoe can always spot a lie because it's the core of how he operates. -- Simcoe [to Hewlett]: I'm willing to do what you are not. -- Anna [to Abe, about Simcoe]: The man is so keen on hunting rebels, all he does is create new ones. -- I had a feeling it was coming but my stomach still dropped to the floor when Simcoe's goons busted in on Abe and Anna, in Abe's old cellar, having heard about Caleb and seeing the intelligence Townsend communicated to Abe with the lodging bill invisible note. -- Uh, who was watching Anna, Abe, and Caleb loading Simcoe's dead men into the boat??

**(TURN, S2E10 Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot) Ah, booze and testosterone. The best of combinations since the beginning of time. ::shakes head:: -- Abe wasn't counting on Hewlett revealing him to Andre, which would be the final ultimate exposure. I am finally impressed with Mary. Her devotion to Abe and her clever mind, now that she's decided to support her husband, if not his cause. -- Poor Anna. What terrible options. Betray the rebel cause she believes in...or kill, Edmund, the man she has grown to love, who just happens to wear the wrong color coat. -- Peggy just broke my heart. Nothing with Benedict went according to plan, from his bold kiss to his proposal of marriage to her father's blessing. When she "did what she had to do" to stall his insistence of marrying immediately" by giving him the wedding night, if not the wedding day, and she lay their clutching Andre's braid in her hand, it was a real gut punch. -- General Lee getting busted by Washington. Ha. HA! ... General Lee [trying to explain the retreat]: Sir, there's been some confusion. Washington: There remains some. -- OMG Simcoe on the battlefield covered in blood. What a lunatic. -- ::whispers:: I felt a tiny bit bad for Andre's battlefield defeat. -- Washington: There can be no security without secrecy. -- Holy crap. One of Washington's own body guards was in on the conspiracy to assassinate him! -- Washington: Do you trust the integrity of the Culper Ring then? Ben: With my life, sir, and yours. -- I *knew* it! I knew the unseen watcher was Rogers! I am so stressed about him capturing Abe and using him as a trap to get revenge on Andre. And that's it??? Just Rogers and Abe, secreted away in Abe's old cellar? There *better* be a season three!

**(Dallas, S3E14 Endgame, S3E15 Brave New World) I cannot believe this show is over with so many cliffhangers. Like who fathered Elena's baby? Nicholas or John Ross? Was Christopher in the car when it exploded?? There's a SISTER?! We need a movie to wrap all this up. -- Bobby [to John Ross]: You can partner with the devil all you want, boy. It won't make any difference. I'll always see it coming. In a lifetime, your daddy never got the best of  me. And he was twice the opponent you'll ever be.  --

**(Mad Men, S7E12 Lost Horizon) Don: Will you call housekeeping and tell them not to male up my bed while I'm still in it? -- Don pressing on that window gave me the willies. I kept expecting it to give, a la the opening credits of the show. -- I love that Peggy had to zip up her skirt before answering the knock at her door. It was tiny touches like that which made this show so believable. -- For all his womanizing, Don treats Joan with so much respect. -- Why do all the 70s dresses look like nightgowns? -- Don just walking out and going to...Wisconsin? What the heck is happening?? -- Peggy and Roger hanging out in the old Sterling Cooper offices, drinking vermouth and studying Cooper's crazy old octopus painting and...rollerskating?? I. Died.

**(Mad Men, S7E13 The Milk and Honey Route) That whole bit with Don at the little hotel and the kid who was a hustler and the way all the locals treated Don, assuming he was the one that swiped the donated cash. It was such a strange direction. -- OMG Betty is dying. And that was so difficult, watching Sally's reaction to Henry telling her and then breaking down. Sally has had to grow up so much and, for all her snark and sass, she really is standing on the cusp of being an amazing young woman. -- Don [to Betty, when he calls her after learning she's dying]: He doesn't know you won't get the treatment because you love the tragedy. -- I knew it!! I knew Pete and Trudy were going to reconcile. I think Pete somehow grew a heart and a conscience when he stopped trying to be Don. -- Don just gave that kid his car?! What on earth is he planning, with just one episode left?!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 24

Checking in for the week of June 14 through June 20.

Song of Susannah (Stephen King) - While Wizard and Glass remains my favorite of the series, I believe this one has taken second place. Twists I didn't see coming and explanations that have filled out some previously unclear pieces of the story. This was also the quickest read for me in the series as well. And with a total cliffhanger ending, I'll be looking forward to the tale's conclusion with anticipation.

T made chicken Kiev, which is a lot of work, but very very tasty. We also had a flank steak with our favorite marinade. And another night, we had spaghetti and meatballs. And on Saturday, we decided we had no desire to cook, so we order Chinese takeout.

I bought a pill box. It wasn't for me. I take all my vitamins at once. But T is forever trying to remember if he took his BP meds. Now he doesn't have to wonder anymore.

Red Raspberry (YC) - Seriously. I want to just crawl inside this candle and live there so I can smell this all the time.
Blue Hydrangea (YC) - This is another of the old retired scents that I am making myself use up. Why can't they make more florals like this that don't smell like someone dumped a bottle of perfume out somewhere?
Clean Cotton (YC) - Like Bounce dryer sheets! Who doesn't like a bathroom that smells like freshly laundered towels?

Before...stay tuned!

We had the craziest storm at work with some kind of straight line wind. And now our shipping department has a new "skylight."


Crotons are my favorite, because they look like autumn all year round.

The way to successfully bribe me every time.

This little guy belongs to one of our customers. He chilled out in our office for a while. Tile floor is cooool.

Why, I do believe you're glowing.

You can measure how much humidity is in the air by how determined my hair is to curl. I intentionally dried it straight at 8am. This was 11am. Inside the house with the a/c running.

Afternoon snack. Monterey Jack. Not butter.



Sunday, June 14, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 23

Checking in for the week of June 7 through June 13.

N is for Noose (Sue Grafton) - I'd nearly given up on this series after K and L were so bad. I'm glad I decided to give it one more try, though, because M, and now, N were fantastic. This one, especially, had my adrenaline pumping and my fingers itching to turn pages. These series is still gritty and has retained its "something of a dark feel," but this book was not at all plodding or unenjoyable. Good twists, well placed red herrings, just the right amount of "creepiness." I can actually say I'm looking forward to eventually picking up the next installment of Kinsey Millhone's cases.
Special Delivery (Danielle Steel) - If you go into a Danielle Steel with the advance understanding that it will never be awarding winning literature, there is actually a place for her on the bookshelf. It's going to be fluffy and a tad unrealistic. The characters will be overly perfect (the most beautiful, the most sought after, the most charming, the most most of everything "good"), and while there will certainly be some conflict, it will resolve into a happily-ever-after, in some form or another. This book, predictably, followed the Danielle Steel protocol, but there are times when I want predictability. It's comforting and satisfying. The only thing I found dissatisfying was that the book ended so abruptly. There was a final detail omitted, one that maybe holds no bearing on the story being told, but that would have required one additional sentence, tops, and possibly even a sentence fragment, tacked onto an already existing thought. I enjoyed the story, in all its Steel-esque composition, being a quick, easy read, but that one missing detail grates on me enough to drop my rating by a star (I considered it 3.5, rounding to 4...until that detail issue is factored in, forcing me to round down instead).
Song of Susannah (Stephen King) - Just started in with this one, and I'm pretty sure this is as far a departure as possible from the last book I read. Still trying to mentally shift gears.

There was ravioli soup in the freezer as an experiment. The soup held up well, but next time we won't freeze it with ravioli in it. It got mushy. Better to freeze it before the ravioli is added and then add it fresh when it's thawed and reheated. I also made a big bowl of pasta salad, because I was home alone and the heat kills my appetite. I made up a batch of sausage and spinach stuffed shells the night T got back. And meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans too.

I really needed to replace my blush brush, so I picked up a new one when I was at Target. I did  not realize how poorly the old one was applying color until I used one that was new. I also decided to try out a new show, When Calls the Heart, which is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I like a good historical drama/romance, and sometimes it's nice to have something that is a bit more...wholesome than just about everything else I watch. Testing out season one this Hallmark original via iTunes to see if it fits the bill.

Blueberry Scone (YC) - This candle smells so good, I just want to eat up all the warm from the oven blueberry scones.
Red Raspberry (YC) - This may officially be my favorite new scent of the 2016 spring release.
Wild Sea Grass (YC) - I am...not a fan. Too grassy with this lingering floral. Definitely NOT my favorite spring 2016 scent.
Marshmallow Chicks (YC) - PEEPS!!

There are new phones at work! I love them, but a lot of my co-workers are resistant to change.

Red sky.

Rain shaft! This phenomenon was totally new to me when I moved to Florida. It does not rain like that in the northeast!

Raindrops on windows and...wait a second...that's not how it goes.

Who are you calling a shrimp?


Saturday, June 13, 2015

This Week on My TV: June 13, 2015

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(Once Upon a Time, S4E22 Operation Mongoose (1) and 4x23 Operation Mongoose (2)) I keep trying to remember if we ever learned who the previous author was, prior to Isaac, and what happened to him or her? -- I am not sure they could have cast The Apprentice any better than they did. He may be one of my favorite characters. -- They did such a fabulous, mind-bendy job with turning the tables on heroes and villains. Good Regina. Darn and evil Snow. Meek and timid Hook. -- Hook [to Emma as she tells him about how things are with them outside Isaac's crazy new world]: I'm starting to get jealous of the other me. -- Snow: That's what villains do: they make themselves happy at the expense of others. -- The Apprentice: The power to change reality is only outweighed by the cost. -- Well, we obviously have our setup for next season: Emma gone Dark One.

**(TURN,S2E7 Valley Forge ) This was an incredibly difficult episode to watch, between Washington's internal struggle, Abe trying to survive his imprisonment, and poor Hewlett just trying to survive as a prisoner of war and *then* having to fend off Simcoe.

**(Mad Men, S7E11 Time and Life) Don: How do I describe California in a way that doesn't make them jealous? Ted: Tell them my ex-wife lives there.  -- Pete is so going to end up back with Trudy. -- OMG did Peggy just confess her child with Pete to Stan?!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Oh Hey Friday: June 12, 2015

It's Oh Hey Friday! time, hosted by September FARM. The idea is that you talk about five things -- any five things, themed or random -- and away we go!

The "Not My Favorite" Edition! (Volume One)

Humidity hair.

Any type of shoe that tries to put a strap between my toes. (Yes, this includes flip flops.) (I may be the only resident of Florida who does not wear flip flops.)

Spiders. Especially the kind that run quickly. Or jump. Or have eight legs.

Insistent, self-inflicted drama. (Please, stop. Just stop. It's exhausting to listen to. How is it not exhausting to live?) And people who are non-stop opinion-y opinion sorts. (We all have them. I'm super tired of all of yours, all the time, please just shhh. One a day is more than enough.) (And yep, that's my opinion.)

Being so super crazy busy at work that I don't have time to do fun things at all. Like compose anything more than gibbership, Dawn-shorthand drafts that have been languishing away, pining for a little attention. (They'll get back-posted, as soon as they are actual coherent strings of real words. Because I still want them in my archives.)


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 22

Checking in for the week of May 31 through June 6.

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes (Diane Chamberlain) - It's been a while since I read a book I had to struggle to put down. It was an easy read, but extremely engaging. The characters were well-developed and likable despite their flaws. I found in fascinating to watch the ripple effect of a single decision and how it affected not just the one character responsible for the decision, but all of them. This book did well with fleshing out the heart of the story, as well as providing open-ended resolution, which, for my preferences is nearly impossible to obtain with any sense of satisfaction.
N is for Noose (Sue Grafton) - So very close to being finished with this one, which will be number fifteen completed toward my 2015 goal of 40!

We were in heavy sandwich mode this week. Fish sandwiches with homemade tartar sauce -- fresh dill, man! Grilled cheese (with a big ol' slice of tomato tucked in between those melty layers -- fun fact: T always asks me what kind of cheese I want, but I leave it up to him, because he is the king of all things cheese in the realm of us. Pulled pork sandwiches -- the pork slow cooks all days and just about melts in your mouth by dinnertime.

I renewed a subscription to a cooking magazine... I think that's it?

Meadow Showers (YC) - I'm a little sad this one is all gone now.
Red Raspberry (YC) - Oh. My. Goodness. Early summer in a candle jar.
Garden Hideaway (YC) - I get easily overwhelmed by floral scents. This one is so perfect though. Like standing in a flower garden, first thing in the morning, after it rained overnight. A little bit of flowers, a little bit green, and a good dose of freshness.
Willow Breeze (YC) - This one has been retired forever and I love it so much, I just couldn't make myself use the last one in my stash. I finally gave in, mostly because I was afraid that by the time I lit it, it would have no scent left at all, and that would make me even more sad than burning the last one. It's so fresh and clean, but very subtle.

I'm pretty much a sucker for anything Peanuts.

New month, new calendar page! I am officially thrilled that I did not like a single one of the Red Sox wall calendars for 2015 and was forced in a different direction for my work calendar. I am loving the artwork on this one.

Clouds and rain and NOT in the 90s. Bliss.

Sun beams and big puffy clouds. (No u-turns, though.)

These were my Gram's favorite. I can't eat one without thinking of her.

Our phone system at work got hit by lightning. Waving goodbye to this antique.

Stormy weather,

Here comes the rain again.

Deluge! (I like fun words.)

Sky on fire. I have something of a love affair with the Florida sky. This probably could have gone without saying.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

This Week on My TV: June 6, 2105

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(Once Upon a Time, S4E21 Mother) Emma: What am I looking at? Hook: The horizon. Emma: Is it doing something? Hook: Oh, I just thought you'd find it calming. Emma: It is...So is rum. -- I cannot believe Regina gave herself a potion that would render her infertile forever. -- Cora [to Regina]: I hope you learn what it's taken me a lifetime to realize about myself. The only one standing in the way of your happiness is you. 

**(Mad Men, S7E10 The Forecast)  Betty: Well, I did the trip when it was six states. Sally: Weren't they still colonies? -- Betty totally creeped me out when she was flirting with Glen. -- Sally really lost her mind over finding out Glen was enlisting to go to Viet Nam. -- I keep saying this but Sally is *really* pretty. Even when she's giving Don Side Eye for the way he responds to one of her friends flirting with him. --  DonYou're a very beautiful girl. It's up to you to be more than that. -- I cannot identify what Don was feeling in that final scene. Remorse? Epiphany? Relief? Regret? Loneliness? -- I am way confused about Joan saying she was married twice. I can only recall one. I'm going to need to go back and watch this series in its entirety again at some point.

**(TURN,S2E5 Sealed Fate) I'm very torn about the way Anna is treating her relationship with Hewlett. I hope she isn't toying with him, because I believe he genuinely cares for her. -- Sackett: What if they're both lying? Caleb: Jesus, Sackett, do you even trust yourself? Sackett: Not for years. -- It cracks me up how much I stress over this show, because I know history! I know how this works out!! -- Washington: This is not the first time a man has appeared out of the night to offer his services to me, and I learned then that knowing one's reasons is as necessary as knowing the lies he's willing to sell. -- OMG OMG OMG SACKETT IS DEAD???

**(Grey's Anatomy,S11E24 You're My Home) Richard and Catherine should be well beyond the years of having a huge public fight. -- Bailey absolutely should be the new chief of surgery. They've been building toward this since the beginning of this show! -- I truly love who Mer is as a doctor now: strong but soft, confident but compassionate. -- The intensity of rushing the car patient from outside to OR with the clock running was spot on and exactly what this show has been missing for ages. My favorite part: Owen gliding into the elevator. -- What is going on with Maggie already?? -- Oof. Mer giving Amelia her old cell phone with Der's last voicemail on it. Playing *all* my heart strings! -- I'm rather impressed with Edwards being in charge. She's like a combo of Bailey and Cristina. -- Bailey telling Edwards to "raise her ducklings." That's some classic Grey's right there. -- YES. Mer playing the dead husband card on Catherine and Richard. *Someone* needed to set those two straight. -- Nooooo...Jackson and April are splitting up -- Richard: I will provide a safe harbor. You need a place to not be Catherine Avery, to not be decisive and set agendas and rise to the level of accomplishments that the world has come to expect of you. You need a place to fall apart. I will be that place, should you require it, in perpetuity. -- As Catherine and Richard had their hospital chapel wedding, all I could think was "how has this never happened before??" I mean, every wedding gets interrupted on this show. They work IN A HOSPITAL. It seemed so obvious. -- Was the MerDer marriage ever made legal? Sure, they had the PostIt, but I wonder about things like the MerDer house and was she his legal spouse and was there a will? -- What *is* it with characters on this show waning to make homes out of broken down dumps? Cristina. Callie and Mark. Now Jo? -- The version of "How to Save a Life" that they played while Amelia listened to Der's last voicemail was positively  haunting -- Mer: Well, you should *always* come talk to me. Because whatever it is, chances are, I've seen worse, and I am qualified to tell you how you'll survive. You should *always* come and talk to me. -- Mer and her sisters. That made my heart smile. -- Meredith [closing monologue]: You can build a house out of anything, make it as strong as you want. But a home...a home is more fragile than that. Home is made of the people you fill it with. And people can be broken, sure, but any surgeon knows what's broken can be mended, what's hurt can be healed. That no matter how dark it gets, the sun's gonna rise again.

**(TURN ,S2E6 Houses Divided) The Judge is just an awful human being for someone who acts so self righteous. -- Anna: Pray for your husband, Mary, not your good name. -- Simcoe was just a little too happy about Hewlett being seized. -- I keep telling myself I shouldn't like Andre this much, but I don't listen. -- It was probably done with soap, but the snow scene was incredible. -- Simcoe claiming to have feelings and not be a monster when Anna comes to apologize made me shudder. -- Mary's head looks too big for her body. -- Blech. That kiss Simcoe took from Anna before setting off to "rescue" Hewlett.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Flower and Garden Fest 2015: Best of the Fest

I don't know why I do this to myself every single Fest, but I do. I blame the friends who ask me what was my favorite. So here are the Top Five. And now I'll be curled up over in the corner in fetal position, because too many decisions. Brain is hurty.

5. "Piggylicious" Bacon Cupcake with Maple Frosting and Pretzel Crunch (The Smokehouse).

4. Fior di Latte, Prosciutto e Pane di Casa (Primavera Kitchen).

3. Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapenos (The Smokehouse).

2. Confit de Canard, Pommes de Terre Sarladaise (Fleur de Lys).

1. Florida Blueberry and Lemon Curd Tart (Florida Fresh).

La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush (Fleur de Lys).

Vegetable Spring Roll (Lotus House).


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